Impact & Finish in Golf Swing – Get More Distance in Golf Part 3

Our last article and video about getting more distance in golf left off in the pre-impact position. At the pre-impact stage of the golf swing, the weight has shifted to the front foot, wrists are still fully cocked in a lag position and the trailing elbow is tucked in tightly to the body underneath the lead arm.

Now it’s time for impact and finish in the golf swing. Watch the video below this article to learn the specific wrist movements and right arm delivery into the impact zone of the golf swing to unload all that lag. Then learn what the hips do through the downswing going into a tall, balanced finish.

Remember to leave your comments, and if you haven’t joined our email list, sign up to get the most timely updates and new golf swing tips. Enjoy the video and thanks for watching. – Herman

Private golf lessons in Raleigh are available directly from  Herman Williams at The Golf Academy. Or if you aren’t in the Raleigh area but still want to get Hermanized, you can email Herman your swing video for analysis and get an online golf lesson starting at only $49.95.

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  1. Hi Herman, love the vids and your advice. I’m working on a underhand tennis swing with my golf swing to create that slap into the ball. Really gets it out there at the moment, 18deg hybrid going about 230. But I have to be aware of not going left. My question is this, I’m conscious of this underhand throwing action, is this a good idea as I feel a little cramped at the top of my swing, or am I just loaded correctly? As opposed to opening the blade slightly and allowing a natural fold. I just feel the natural fold can lead to over rotation and an loss of club head awareness causing an ot move slice or a smother!? If I just just hang back and do my underhand tennis shot clearing the hips its going a mile???
    Regards neil.

    • Neil, sounds like what you’re doing is working well. I wouldn’t talk you out of it unless you can’t consistently perform. Be aware that often what sounds unconventional to you as an individual may actually be fairly sound technically. It’s the “feel” that can seem strange, and we’re all unique in that regard.

  2. Great videos, thanks so much,
    I shoot in the 70’s, low 80’s
    my problems have been shanking, and I have a sweeping swing with a natural draw.
    I know there are diggers and sweepers out there. I’m trying to learn to be a digger in the short irons and get a more downward swing and take a better divot. should I have two different swings ? My favorite golfer was Greg Norman with his pick the ball off the fairway swing.
    I’m very good with the long clubs, the driver is my favorite, it’s 48 inches long and I hit it 250-290 and mostly down the middle of the fairway. But the short irons and inside 80 yards is my down fall.
    Thanks for any advice, Kevin

  3. Hi Herman
    Thanks so much for allowing access to your insights for the every day golfer, super advice all round and I highly recommend your tips.
    I was having problems with swing and ball strike consistency however, after applying your lesson theory and tips I am striking my irons really well and have gained around 10 yards on most clubs; I’m a 15 HC.
    I’m still working on proper club head lag and release but that and the associated “feeling” are coming along. The driver and fairways woods are improving too however I find the quality of my shot here with these clubs depends on my weight distribution and spine angle at address and subsequently through impact. Would you care to comment on your experience with this and perhaps suggest the optimum weight and spine tilt for these clubs and should it vary much from irons?
    Another issue; I’ve always had a tendency to “brush” the turf at the bottom of the swing with my irons so the obvious variations of catching the ball slightly thin or fat occurs at times. Though I am able to hit the ball cleanly I rarely “trap” or strike the ball then take a clean divot; divots are not in my repertoire! I have the ball fairly centred in my stance and weight even. Can you offer any thoughts on the merits of taking more of a divot and what swing thoughts or keys could I use to help (if needed) in this area?
    Best wishes and thanks again.

    • Hi Colin,
      If your trajectories seem ok and you aren’t ballooning the ball and losing distance, I’m not sure I would obsess over getting a better divot. The improvement you’ve described so far seems great. going for more divot might be a bigger project than it’s worth if everything else is going well.

  4. Hi Herman

    Your videos have really helped me a lot.
    I have one huge problem, though:
    I have lots of lag until my arms are parallel to the ground. Then I start loosing it, until the point where my hands are in front of my right thigh. Here the club should be at least parallel to the ground, but mine is 2/3 towards the ball at this point.
    The weightshift takes my arms to horizontal with lots of lack. But from there, I have a real hard time keeping the lag
    Any advice?


    Mads, Denmark

  5. I understand the principles and mechanics of creating backspin, but unclear on excecution. Should I aim to hit the ground directly in front of the ball, 1in. in front, 2in. in front, or what? You have great videos. Thanks.

  6. Herman,
    Great videos. I love the comment where you feel like your lower body is doing a reverse weight shift while your upper body turns behind the ball. I’ve never hit the ball better but need to focus more on keeping my spine angle. My question is the impact position. Does keeping an inclined shaft angle at impact accomplish the same thing as trying to bow the wrist.

  7. Playing for years, in good shape but lost all distance on all clubs. People much older hitting much further.
    Watched your three lessons and it clicked. Went to driving range today and tried your tips, grip, keeping right arm tight to body and my wrist position. Watched you teaching your student to correct his over the top swing. I did the same thing and it worked. Swing not perfect but much improved. Will try your last tip next time on range. Was still pushing some shots to the right, think last video should take care of that. Thanks very much, was getting to the point of giving up.

  8. WOW! This was just the end of summer lesson I needed. I had been topping every 5th ball and the weak, thin slice was getting old. I just got back from the range and like magic, things had straightened themselves out. I was even hitting a high draw!

    A couple really light bulb tips that I found helpful:
    1) fold the left arm pit over the left pec
    2) turn around the spine with no hip shift (backwards) in the back swing
    3) let the right hip trigger the forward swing and shift the weight forward

    Good stuff!

    One question I had was in regards to the feet. My feet are rather narrow and the inside of my right foot is often lifting up on the backswing… Is there a flaw there? Also, can I kick the right foot open a bit for more stability?

    • You definitely want the legs to appear to flare out from the hips like the trunk of a tree. Insteps about the width of the the outside of your hips is a good start. Flaring the foot slightly should be ok. Mainly just focus on keeping pressure glued to the right instep throughout the backswing so you can push of the inside of that foot in downswing.

      • Thanks, Herman. I’m already see MUCH better ball striking and rarely topping my irons anymore but I’m noticing I’m missing quite frequently to the right with a big push. On these shots the contact feels great but it’s way off line.

        Any ideas on this?

  9. Hi Herman,

    I have been working on impact quite a bit, and have gotten to a very comfortable point with all my irons. I am staying somewhat braced against my left side even during the back swing, and am able to trap the ball with a nice strong release. I’m even taking some nice sized divots after the ball, something I’ve never been able to do.

    However, the problem comes as soon as I start teeing the ball up. I am hitting a TON of sky rocket pulls. There isn’t much hook to them most of the time, just a dead pull hit 150 yards straight up into the air. Any ideas? I’ve even managed to take some ridiculously big divots with my driver and 3-wood off the tee, I know that can’t be good. I appreciate any insight you might have.

    • That is a steep casting type of response where you spike the clubhead beneath it as it closes. But take a look at your spine angle. You may be leaning into these shots a little after working so hard to trap those iron shots. Keep your spine tilted to the right the way it would feel on an uphill lie and be sure the ball position is forward along left instep area.

  10. Hi Herman,I spent a few hours on the range the other day only to end up with a blister on the outside of my right ring finger. (I swing right hand).I have developed a calise on that finger for years the blister is right below the calise.
    I also wear a hole in my glove on the pad.I am gripping in the fingers.
    Would too steep of a downswing be the fault.Causing fat chunky shots and wearing on the finger and the glove.


    • It certainly could. It sounds like hinging and unhinging is causing those hands to move back and forth against each other. This is usually a grip issue with a lot of casting (fat shots) followed by a swing plane issue. I would try a 10-finger grip especially if you have small hands or thick fingers. Then work on plane and lag. Search my site for those terms and check my youtube channel.

  11. Herman:

    I have a persistent problem that I just can’t correct – a nasty hook with driver and fairway woods. Even when I lose it for awhile it always comes back. Some are gradual cubes to left, others are wil duck hooks. For some reason it’s not a problem with irons. Any ideas?

    • If the irons are good, it is often because you have a significant forward press and trap the ball against the ground which somewhat stabilizes the clubhead momentarily at impact. The ground acts as something to hit against. If you take sizable divots and flight it low, this might be your situation. If so, obviously the driver teed up does not give you that opportunity, and if you did get to impact with hands way out in front, you would have no loft. The cure in this situation is almost always to weaken the grip and get rid of the forward press in order to eliminate the closed clubface. Occasionally players will grip a driver differently which is another option; ball position can play into it; and you might also be bowing the left wrist with an inside/out swing path. As you can see, there are a few things to check to figure out why that face is closed at impact on the woods. Good luck. – Herman

  12. Thanks for the great instruction Herman…… I have seen on the web!
    Turning 50 this year and you should see the look on the young guys every time I blow it by them off the tee……..all they can say is that “you still got some pop for and old guy”. Thanks for helping me turn a long fade/slice into some pop!

  13. Hi Herman, I have not seen better golf lesson videos on the Internet than yours. Brilliant! I seem to have an in to out swing path. I hit the ball square (ie no spin on it) however about 20 degrees to the right! I am right handed player. My alignments are correct. This forces me to draw every shot with somewhat unpredictable results. I am looking for a repeatable formula. Can you help?

    • I know it sounds crazy, but you are swinging too much from the inside and should actually try to start the swing more “over-the-top” with your arms moving outward in front of you. do not attempt to drop the arms close to your right hip like most players.

      • Thank you Herman! You were dead on. My elbow is tucked in on the side of my hip at pre-impact position with the club still behind me and not in front. I am trying to make this change with great difficulty as I get my power from keeping my right elbow close to me at pre-impact. Funny enough, my brain thinks I am way over the top so I naturally bring the club head in and keep hitting the ball with the toe. It is going to take some practice but I am making progress.

  14. Herman, I came across your outstanding instruction while searching for advice on the wrist positions in the swing. You have helped a lot.
    My question is about the trailing elbow coming into the impact zone. Does that elbow actually press into the body? Is it just the elbow or the whole of the upper arm? Should I focus on placing the elbow in a certain spot, as right on the hip bone, or closer to the centre of the body, or perhaps more to the outside?
    Thank you!

    • Excellent questions. Yes elbow and the whole upper arm will both press into the body on downswing. The landing point for the elbow all depends on your flexibility and how fast you are clearing hips versus shoulders. I advise most students who don’t have “Tour Action” to keep the hips quiet, keep the chest back and drop the elbow just in front of hip almost into rib cage. This method keeps the body turn from throwing everything outside if you aren’t gifted with Tour flexibility. If you’ve got Tour capabilities, you can send the hips first and drop the elbow behind you. This does require you to be able to hold your shoulders back while the hips take off. Not always an easy thing to do. Best of luck. – Herman

      • Herman: Please Elaborate On The Right Elbow Tucking On The Downswing. I Tried Jamming It Into My Right side, Brushing It Against My Belt, Brushing It Against My Stomach, & Tucking It Inward As Tightly As I Could To Start My Downswing. I Didn’t Pull The Ball As Much, But Blocked Several To The Right With No Power & Hit A Few Shots Flush. Thanks!

        • All of the techniques you mentioned will work if you get the face squared up. Sounds like this newfound tucking in and lag has left your clubface open. Work on getting the back of the left hand turned down before impact to square up that face and strike with the shaft leaning targetward. You might also want to check my video on “how to stop blocking golf shots.”

          • Thanks So Much, Herman. I’m Trying To Keep My Right Upper Arm Attached To My Chest Throughout The Swing. This Should Keep My Right Elbow In Front Of My Hip On The Downswing, Correct? Then I’m Keying On “Backing” Into The Target To Start My Downswing & This Seems To Prevent The “Pulls”. It’s Very Difficult For Me To Think About Shifting My Lower Body & Turning My Left Hand Down At The Same Time. Thanks Again For All Your Great Advice; It Definitely Helps!

          • Thanks, Again, Herman! What Do I Need To Change On The Rotation Of The Left Hand Down If I Start Hooking Too Much? I Tend To Fight A Low Duck Hook. Thanks!

          • A few things could be going wrong if you’re hitting low hooks. In fact you may need to ignore half of this presentation if that’s your normal shot. This training series is best suited to slicers, high-ball hitters and short hitters. Low hooks are usually another category.

            At any rate check the following: 1)You may be rotating the left hand naturally and just don’t feel it; therefore, don’t add more of that feel.
            2) You may not have enough wrist cock and/or lag to delay the face from closing down at impact.
            3) Your grip may be too strong.

  15. Herman your videos are incredibly helpful. I’ve been taking lessons for a while and no one has broken it down like this and really shown me the causes (and fixes) for everything I’m doing wrong. Thank you so much for posting these publicly. A massive help!

  16. I’am using a lot of your tips. I find I hit it better coming from the inside on the downswing. What do you think? thanks Richard

  17. Herman, excellent advise!! Now, I have had a problem hitting the ball to the right if I don’t roll my wrist a quarter turn on my back swing and then roll following through! I have had a lot of people telling me not to do this but I hit the ball further and no slice or fade! Any comment on this? Thanks Rick

    • I don’t think I would argue with what’s working. Obviously I’m just guessing since I haven’t seen what you’re doing. But it usually feels weirder than it looks.

  18. Hi Herman,

    Great video, as always. I took a private lesson with you last summer, but was unable to continue since I relocated to Ohio for work. However I keep up with your lesson blogs and continue to work on the points you laid out for me in my initial lesson.

    I found this video particularly interesting as you essentially give the “OK” to have a slightly strong grip with the left hand. I have been working hard for over a year now to get the flat left wrist on the top based on a totally neutral grip. However, I just feel so much more comfortable having the left hand slightly strong, as you promote in this distance series. I have also been working had (and struggling with) achieving proper release of the club, as I have been a flipper/caster most of my life. I was hoping you might provide a few sentences describing how the release would differ with a completely neutral left hand versus a strong left hand grip.

    Thanks as always Herman.

    • Hey Mike,
      As you have realized there is almost always more than one way to succeed at making a repeatable golf swing that produces desirable results. So the first takeaway here is to be flexible in your approach as long as you aren’t bouncing all over the place trying different stuff all the time. At any rate, most golfers will do best with a fairly neutral grip, flat wrist at top and strong overhanded release.

      However, if you are only comfortable with stronger left hand and/or need more wrist hinge and distance, then the adjustments from this article and video series are ok. Assuming you have the stronger grip and the slightly cupped wrist at the top, then your release will be more of an unhinge at the ball versus a rollover. You will be arriving at impact with the edge of your left hand striking targetward like a karate chop as the wrist unhinges. Simply extend the arms targetward with the knuckles of the left hand remaining skyward until above waist high at which point the hands can finally roll over.

      • Thanks for the reply Herman, I have realized that my success with a stronger grip is not really success at all, as I am still flipping/scooping the ball. Though I can get around the course decently, I am not getting the compression and ball flight that I would like. I am therefore working hard at the neutral grip / strong overhanded release.

        I have a question with regards to the grip and how it relates to the wrist position at the top of the backswing. I have noticed in several of your videos that you often refer to strong left hand grip / weak right hand grip as being equivalently neutral. My question is, with this kind of grip, would we still expect a flat left wrist at the top given the strong position of the left hand?

        • Excellent observations. Everything is relative and with humans you don’t always get what you expect. I simply mean one guy thinks his grip is strong, but it’s nowhere near as strong as the next guy. But you are right … if left hand is moving in a stronger direction, eventually it will be unreasonable to expect a flat left wrist. Then what you really need to check is whether the leading edge of clubface is parallel on plane with left arm at top of backswing when viewed down the line.

  19. Herman, very helpful videos such as all your others! I’ve found that the flat wrist sorts out most of my slice issues and that I can therefore easily work on the release as you have it in this video. You talk about clearing the hips as a second stage and this is been helpful as well. Could you comment on where your belly button should be showing during the release process and whether there is more power to be gained through use of your hip movement? Kind regards,

    • Jean, glad to have you on board. If you can maintain a club path that approaches the ball from the “inside” with a fast enough release of the hands to draw or hook the ball, you are ready to get more aggressive with your hips and overall body turn on the forward swing. Every player will likely have a different position for the belly button at impact but suffice it to say that the belly button should at least be pointing out in front of the ball. We see far too many people at impact who have simply returned to their original setup position.

      And yes, there is definitely power to be gained by using the hips, provided you don’t lose the swing path and clubface release in the process. think about landing a well-timed punch. You need a little hip thrust left as your fist lands. Make sure you have that burst of hip speed and hand release timed together as your club arrives into the ball. Good luck. – Herman

  20. Hi Herman, I’ve been hitting golf balls in a indoor dome working on
    the transition and impact finish.What I found was I’m hitting my driver
    square on the sweet spot but my six iron is off center towards the heal
    of the club.I don’t know if this is an over the top move or if I’m pulling my
    hands in and coming across the ball.
    My bad shots when I’m playing golf are that I do pull my irons at times
    or hook my driver.
    Any suggestions would be appreciated.
    Thank you


    • Most guys heel it with an in to out path or excessive flip or hand rolling before impact. Over the top swings cutting across the ball most often toe the ball as the player pulls the arms into the body at impact. However there are plenty of instances where outside/in swings can and do strike the heel. Without some video, I would have to go by your divots to know what your path is doing. Lay a shaft at your feet ans setup squarely on a known target, then check your divot direction. If divot is pretty straight look for the flippy wrist problem, setting up too close to it or body movement toward the ball in your swing. If divots are offline, start working on your swing path. Good luck.

        • I think you’ll find you will naturally wear your gloves there if you keep them long enough. But you want to make sure of two things first.
          1) Make sure the heel pad of your hand is not hanging off the end of the club or the edge of the butt cap will cut into the glove.
          2) Make sure the fatty pad of the heel of your hand is squished up on top of the handle when you clinch your fingers. You have to hold the club down in the fingers diagonally across the base of the fingers so the pad gets on top. If the pad is not on top, the handle will move around and wear the glove. It goes without saying that you never want to regrip during the swing and let the fingers loosen and re-clinch.

  21. Love the site!

    When I hit my 4 iron hybrid I seem to have a little more success (same distance with better accuracy) when I de-emphasize “trapping” the ball and “sweep” it a little more. Should I do something differently or is the a reasonable observation?

    Thanks, Larry the lagged.

    • Larry, you said it perfectly. I would think a little more “sweeping” with the hybrid. A slightly more forward ball position is sometimes enough to take care of it, but I’m sure your gut instincts about what you’re feeling are fine. I’m thinking about trapping the ball with 7-iron thru wedges and not so much above that. We golf instructors run into so many casters from the top, it’s hard to tell each person how much to exaggerate this stuff until we see them in action. Thanks for stopping by. – Herman

  22. Thanks Herman, just what i’ve been looking for.Your 3 videos on Get more
    Distance was excellence.Finally somebody has explained transition,the lag and the moment of truth..impact…. I have been struggling with this for years.No more flipping. Can’t wait to work on it.
    I think i’ve just been …. HERMANIZED
    Thanks again…
    Happy New Year.

  23. Herman….really like your video’s. I recently purchased a Casio EX-FH100 to video my swing. (I saw where this was one of your suggest.) What are the settings you suggest for the best quality?

    • I turn the knob on top to one of the manual settings. I don’t have my camera with me right now and can’t remember which setting … maybe “A” , “M” or “S”.

      Then go into the shutter speed settings and set that up to 1/2000th per second if light is good. 1650 does well, 2500 works well in full sunlight but you will notice the images appear darker at these higher shutter speeds.

      Then select your frame rate for filming. I think both 120 and 240 frames per second give plenty of detail. Higher settings create huge files that take too long to deal with in my opinion. Good luck with your filming … that’s a great camera for golf. – Herman

  24. Been working all season on a later release but tape showing still not there. “Old school” teachers used to suggest hitting with more “left hand”. Do you think this is still a valid swing thought to help with what we’re talking about here?

    • Maybe not depending on the interpretation. Most “old school” advice is that golf is a left-sided game. Focusing on a left-sided approach generally leads to pulling the left arm and leaving the face open which often leads to casting. So I’d advocate that it is equally two-sided. The left forearm must definitely be able to rotate thru impact squaring the back of left hand but beware of forceful left-sided pulling. Often the left side will pull and right side will push or be too slow and casting will result. Ultimately, the right side should aggressively tuck in and then overtake the left hand thru impact as right arm extends thru the ball. When you think about the right side/right hand & arm, they actually have to travel farther to crossover the left arm and extend to target. Therefore the right side must be very involved … remember Ben Hogan wanted “3 right hands.” Check the comment I left for Mike on this post. Long answer … but try to get both sides involved. Left forearm rotating as back of hand turns down, right arm leading with right elbow then thrusting thru the shot to extend to target. Good luck and thanks for commenting. – Herman

      • Sounds like fun. I’ll try it this weekend on the range. On a somewhat different subject, experience says trying to do several new things at the same time is probably impossible as I’m sure you would agree. If it were you, how would you approach a new move like this in an organized, patient manner in order to maximize the chance of improvement?

        • I would shrink the swing down and start with a wedge. Take a backswing with full wrist hinge only going back to waist-high with the hands … hands roughly at 9 o’clock. Right elbow will already be low and tucked in if you stop here with full wrist hinge. Now pull forward equally with both hands and right elbow. Then let right arm fire out and overtake the left. Finish with hands at 3 o’clock forearms crossed over and club extended targetward. This drill works quicker than anything else. It lets you feel the club tuck in and then fire out as it rolls over, and it is contained in a small enough swing you can actually see and feel it happen. Hit 5 sets of 4 shots this way before branching out into larger swings. Then alternate 4 small training shots followed by 4 full shots. Rinse and repeat. 🙂 Good luck. – Herman

          • Hit about 4-500 balls over the weekend not counting “playing” about 20 holes or so. Definitely got that “thwack” sound on many hits. Left shoulder, arms, elbows kind of sore probably due using muscles not used before, mabey overdoing it a bit, and hitting many more shots than usual fat. Payed special attention to pushing out on handle with the left hand and getting the hands cocked more. Got the feeling ‘how can I hit this ball with the club so far behind me’. So for me its definitely a new way to hit the ball and is going to take some work. I’m definitely into it and feel that even though I’m a decent player that I’m not swinging at the ball properly. So thanks, Herman, for clueing me in on some stuff and explaining it so fluently.

          • Thanks for chiming in and sharing your progress. Pace yourself … baby step thru one piece at a time. Small but frequent doses are often better than drawn out marathon training sessions. Good luck. – Herman

          • While practicing more wrist cock and more lag I stumbled over something that I’d love to have you comment on. You demonstrate in the videos pushing out the handle of the club with the left hand and then you simutaneously pull down on the shaft with the right hand to show the desired result. I found that if I switched to a baseball grip I was able to accomplish this move a lot easier. Pushed out with the left and kind of pulled down with the right at the same time. Heck, I looked like Hogan at the top. Started wacking it too. Waaaaaaay to soon to say ‘ah ha !’ but what do you think?

          • You are right on the money. The 10-finger grip allows for the most wrist hinge and is often much more comfortable than overlap or interlock. Great observation and thanks for commenting. – Herman

  25. Your latest video is like you were watching me swing lately. I often extend my R arm too soon not holding the lag, scooping and hitting the ball fat as a result. I will work on that elbow into the hip move.

    • Thanks for commenting Mike. I had my x-ray vision on … Seriously though when you go to tuck in that right arm make sure your chest stays “closed” to the target momentarily. If your left shoulder pulls forward or around too soon it will pull on the bottom of the handle and leaves the right arm stuck trailing too far behind to tuck in correctly. If you watch the video closely again, you’ll notice when I’m tucking that elbow my chest points back away from target. More flexible Tour Players are capable of keeping the upper chest back longer while the hips are clearing … this leaves plenty of room to tuck the elbow. Then just be sure you can get rid of those extreme angles quickly and you’ll bomb it. Good luck. – Herman